Showing posts with label chicago manual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chicago manual. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


What do you call three periods in a row? Take your time, we’ll wait . . .

The Ellipsis

Those three little dots are called an ellipsis (plural: ellipses). The term ellipsis comes from the Greek word meaning “omission,” and that’s just what an ellipsis does—it shows that something has been left out. When you’re quoting someone, you can use an ellipsis to show that you’ve omitted some of their words.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Apostrophe Rules

Apostrophes can be tricky. Sometimes they form possessives. Sometimes they form contractions. Can they ever make something plural?

Apostrophe Use: Contractions and Omissions

A contraction is a shortened form of a word (or group of words) that omits certain letters or sounds. In a contraction, an apostrophe represents missing letters. The most common contractions are made up of verbs, auxiliaries, or modals attached to other words: He would=He’d.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why Is the Oxford Comma a Heated Debate in 2017?

If you stare awhile at the string of characters that a sentence comprises, the squiggles lose all meaning. That humans somehow manage to agree on the use of these symbols well enough to communicate at all can seem miraculous.

But what about when we don’t quite agree—when it seems a writer has added a superfluous, bafflingly out-of-place comma, perhaps, or inexplicably used the wrong pronoun?

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Write Powerful Bullet Points

Any writer who’s spent time in the trenches publishing articles online knows it’s hard to keep a reader’s attention. In fact, according to Tony Haile’s 2014 article on, 55 percent of readers will spend fifteen seconds or less actively on a page reading the article that took you many times longer to write and carefully proofread. Like it or not, our online culture, which blasts us with a never-ending stream of content 24/7, has made us skimmers rather than deep readers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Toward or Towards

  • Toward and towards are two acceptable ways of spelling the same preposition.
  • Toward is the preferred spelling in the United States and Canada.
  • Towards is the preferred spelling in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Some words have multiple correct spellings. You probably already know this is true for certain verbs (e.g., spell vs. spelt) and several nouns (e.g., color, favor, neighbor); prepositions aren’t immune to it either.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Is It Flier or Flyer?

  • A flyer can be one of several things: a pamphlet, something that flies, or a device you’d use to twist yarn.
  • Flier is a also an accepted spelling of the word.
  • Keep in mind, though, that the guidelines for the usage of flyer and flier vary from one style guide to another.

A flyer, a circular, a leaflet, a pamphlet, a handbill—so many words for one simple thing. A piece of paper with words and images printed on it that gets handed out on a street.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Where to Find The Answers to Your Grammar Questions

How the Grammar Girl Team Answers All Those Grammar Questions

Guest post by Ashley Dodge

English is a complex, complicated, and often confusing language. It seems as if everyone, at one time or another, needs help with grammar. As Grammar Girl’s assistant, I’m lucky enough to help people find the answers to their grammar questions sent in by e-mail, whether it’s how to remember “affect” or “effect,” or how to use the semicolon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Declaration of Independence: A Lesson in Language History

Language is constantly evolving – a fact made especially clear when we take a look at historical documents and note how writing norms have shifted over the years. The further back we go, the bigger the shift. The Declaration of Independence, for example, represents a version of English that is noticeably different than that which we use to communicate today.

What are the main grammatical differences between Thomas Jefferson’s version of English and our own?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Alright or All Right—Which Is Correct?

People are often surprised to learn that alright is not an accepted spelling of all right. Although the one-word spelling of alright is seen in informal writing, teachers and editors will always consider it incorrect. To use the expression with impunity, it is best to spell it as two words: all right.

It’s possible that you stared at your paper in wonder the first time your English teacher marked alright as an incorrect spelling.